Get Smart

Action Comedy Written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember Directed by Peter Segal I approach films based on old TV shows with suspicion, but the comic potential of Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart lowered my guard. But while Get Smart has its charms, it doesn't fulfill that potential by a long shot. Carell wisely … Continue reading Get Smart

New PFA Schedule

The July/August Pacific Film Archive schedule arrived in yesterday's mail. It makes me want to move permanently into that theater. They're running five series this summer, honoring a director, a cinematographer, a novelist, a studio, and an aspect ratio. The studio is United Artists, receiving its yet another 90th anniversary retrospective. But unlike the UA … Continue reading New PFA Schedule

Jewish Film Festival

Two of my biggest passions--Judaism and cinema--come together this summer like they do every summer for the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. (Come to think of it, some of my other big passions--music, history, and sex--turn up here, as well.) The organizers are calling the 28th SFIFF the largest one ever, with “70 films from … Continue reading Jewish Film Festival

Love and Honor

Samurai drama Written by Yoji Yamada, Emiko Hiramatsu, and Ichiro Yamamoto Directed by Yoji Yamada Yoji Yamada makes Samurai films like nobody else's. Past works like Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade looked at the legendary warriors as lower-middleclass drones, worrying about money as they perform their dull peacetime jobs for an indifferent lord for … Continue reading Love and Honor